Community Outreach – Exploring BattleTech Lore And History With Sven Van Der Plank

A few weeks ago, I mentioned Sven van der Plank and his eight-hour Star League Civil War video, which struck me as bizarrely long for YouTube content that didn’t involve repeating a single song over and over. And then I actually watched it front to back and realized there was some excellent content being presented for each of those eight hours, and that it continued even further with slightly (read: much) shorter videos covering the First Succession War.

Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. So I reached out to Sven to learn more about him, his process, and what we can expect in the future from Sven’s channel. This time on Community Outreach, I present Sven van der Plank and his deep dives into BattleTech history and lore. Enjoy.

Sven Thumbnails InnerSphere

Courtesy of Sven van der Plank

Sean (Sarna): Well, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! I’m Sean, the news guy. Given the amount of lore you’ve covered, I can imagine you’ve come across our little wiki at some point. For anyone who doesn’t know already though, who are you?

Sven van der Plank: Hey everyone, I’m Sven van der Plank. I’m the creator of a series on YouTube called “BattleTech Lore & History.” 

The aim of the project is to cover the entire BattleTech timeline, giving folks a complete understanding of all the events that led up to the “beginning” in 3025, and maybe one day all the way through to the modern era. 

Sean:  Wow, so your goal is to go right from the very beginning to the ilClan era and whatever comes after?

“I started right at the earliest point, around the year 2000, and so far I’ve covered the next 800 years up to the mid-point of the First Succession War.”

Sven van der Plank: Eventually, yes. I started right at the earliest point, around the year 2000, and so far I’ve covered the next 800 years up to the mid-point of the First Succession War. One day, I’ll hopefully have a throughline from the very beginning to whatever the “present” is, but that’s probably several years away still.

Sean: I’ll say, there’s a lot of ground to cover over the next 350-odd years. Well, it’s a noble goal! I hope to see it completed someday.

Sven van der Plank: Definitely. I breezed through the first 500 years but the further down the line you get, the more fleshed out the universe becomes, and finding a way to condense all that information becomes ever more challenging.

Sean: Fair. Even the Star League Civil War required eight whole hours!  We will definitely get to that in a minute, but first I’d like to get your BattleTech history. When did you first get into BattleTech?

Sven van der Plank: I got into it through the video games. Late 90s I picked up a copy of MechCommander from the supermarket, not knowing anything about it or the larger BT universe, I just liked the look of the “robot” on the box.

Over the next couple of years, I learned about MechWarrior and MechAssault at some point, but then things went dormant for over a decade.

At some point, I went looking for a playthrough of MechCommander on YouTube and stumbled upon the No Guts No Galaxy channel. Phil has a few old playthroughs there. Then YouTube did what it does and started recommending Critical Rocket’s LoreWarrior series which I really loved.

At some point, I went looking for a MechWarrior wiki and stumbled upon Sarna. I was convinced I was on the wrong website because I had never heard of (a) Sarna, or (b) BattleTech. However, I think there was a Raven on the front page which I recognized, and before I knew it I was spending days on the website learning about the rich history. 

Sean: Hah, yeah, the name is a little bit of an in-joke, but most fans find it eventually. So you got started with MechCommander, what other BattleTech games have you played? Ever tried the tabletop game?

“I breezed through the first 500 years but the further down the line you get, the more fleshed out the universe becomes, and finding a way to condense all that information becomes ever more challenging.”

Sven van der Plank: The games have been on my list to play for years now but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it. I played Crescent Hawks’ Inception a few years back as a curiosity, but for the other titles, I keep telling myself I’ll play them as a reward if I ever make it that far in my own history series.

As for the tabletop, I’ve honestly no experience with it I’m afraid to say. A friend of mine offered to play an introductory game of Alpha Strike at some point in the next month or so, so we’ll see where it goes from there.

My main interest in the series comes from the novels/sourcebooks, but I would love to expand that to things like the games and maybe the tabletop too.

Sean: I definitely recommend Alpha Strike as an introduction. You get to play with a bunch of minis over the course of a few hours rather than an entire day. What novels/sourcebooks have you read? Is it perhaps most of them?

Sven van der Plank:  Only a fraction of them. I’ve been going through the list in order of release. So far I’ve covered everything between 1986-1992, so as you can see, I’ve a long way to go. Next up is Ideal War if I’m not mistaken. Think there are five from 1993 in total.

That’s 3025-3055 in terms of in-universe dates. So like I say, a long way to go.

Sean: Probably the most exciting time. There are so many key events in that timeframe, and so many memorable characters, that’s why a lot of us old-timers prefer it over any other era. But it’s interesting you’re using the release date. Has anyone ever made a reading order for BattleTech novels?

BattleTech Novels - Where to Begin & What Order to Read (BattleTech & MechWarrior Books)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sven van der Plank: I’ve seen a few lists on the BattleTech subreddit. I tried my hand at a list for the Succession Wars era novels a while back, and plan to follow it up with a similar list for the Clan Invasion era once I finish reading them myself. 

That’s part of a larger project I’m working on. When I say I’ve read everything from 1986-1992, I mean everything. It’s only fifteen novels but dozens of additional sourcebooks too. I’m trying to create a comprehensive list for anyone mad enough to want to read through all the sourcebooks alongside the novels. I’ve found it interesting to see how the universe has developed as new factions and characters are introduced, often in the sourcebooks first before migrating over into the novels. 

Sean: Woof, that’s a lot of reading. I guess you spend a lot of time reading, huh?

Sven van der Plank: Sure, and a worryingly high percentage of that time is dedicated to BattleTech now. I’ve bought them all through Kindle so I’ve always got the library on me and am able to get in a chapter or so on the way to work, on my lunch break, or wherever else.

Sean: Efficient! Let’s get into what I like to call the standard array of questions, starting with the all-important one: what’s your favorite ‘Mech?

Sven van der Plank: Hollander. It’s not a great ‘Mech, but I love the idea of it. A light ‘Mech designed to chase after other scouts and knock them out with a single Gauss shot. There are a ton of problems with it, chief among which is the fact that it only has that Gauss rifle and nothing else, but I adore it all the same.

“A worryingly high percentage of that time is dedicated to BattleTech now.”

I also love the look of the Akuma, but that’s from a point in the timeline that I haven’t even reached yet, so not much to say other than it looks cool.

For Clan ‘Mechs it has to be the Stone Rhino. Looks the absolute business.

Sean: It is the absolute business, but so few Clanners will take it into battle. What about your favorite game you’ve played so far?

Sven van der Plank: MechCommander is one of my favorite games ever, not just for BattleTech. Goodness knows how many hours I’ve put into that one over the decades.

Sean: Fair, it’s a great game. I’ve definitely lost a few hundred hours to it for sure. And your favorite book?

Sven van der Plank: It’s not a very original answer, but probably Wolves on the Border. I do want to say that I read the Jade Phoenix trilogy a few months back and thought it was great too. 


The characters in those ones really grabbed me. Joanna is probably my favourite character in the franchise and can’t wait to see where Thurston takes her next.

Well, Minobu was my favorite…

Sean: Too soon. And I guess you haven’t read that many eras, but between Terran Hegemony, Star League, and Succession Wars, which is your favorite era?

Sven van der Plank: I don’t know if I have a favorite era really. It’s all part of a larger tapestry to me. There are no eras I dislike. I know I haven’t made it very far into the timeline but that’s definitely not because I’m someone who only wants to stick to the early stuff. I’m not lying when I say I very much looking forward to learning about the Jihad/Dark Age.

Sean: Fair. There’s more lore dedicated to the Jihad/Dark Age than when I was playing with the click figures, so it’ll probably be a more enjoyable era for newcomers.

Let’s talk more about your channel. I see it got started quite a few moons ago, and you’re a fan of classic games like Command & Conquer, Half-Life, Hitman, DOOM, and even some Old-School Runescape. I don’t see any older BattleTech games though. Is that just because I haven’t gone back far enough, or have you just not gotten around to posting a MechCommander run to YouTube?

Sven van der Plank: Yeah, you touched on precisely why I’m interested in the Jihad/Dark Age. I know how turbulent an era it was for the franchise in the real world, and for various reasons the transition between eras wasn’t handled very well at all. The question is how much of the bad reputation are people just repeating things they’ve heard and how much is a lingering ill-feeling towards the era that “ruined” BattleTech. I really am hoping to find a diamond in the rough when I get there. Maybe it really is just a lump of coal though.

“MechCommander is one of my favorite games ever, not just for BattleTech. Goodness knows how many hours I’ve put into that one over the decades.”

As for the channel, I started it back in 2019 just as an excuse to play some old games and hopefully rediscover my love of the hobby through that. I didn’t really care that no one was watching. A lot of that early stuff really is atrocious so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Like I was saying, the BattleTech games are on my list but I’m using them as a sort of bribe to keep working on the Lore & History series. Once I reach the point in the timeline when those games take place, then I’ll finally boot them up and there’s a good chance I’ll upload them to the channel.

Sean: Sweet! Wait, so that means you’d probably start with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries since that technically begins in 3015, right?

Sven van der Plank: Think my list is something like MechWarrior 1, HBS BATTLETECH, MechWarrior 5, Crescent Hawks’ Revenge, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, and then so on from there.

I wouldn’t put MechWarrior 1 over HBS BATTLETECH, but the rest of the list seems quality to me. 

Sean: Now let’s take a look at your method for making these in-depth lore videos--especially the 8-hour spectacle on the Star League Civil War. How do you get started with making a script that’s eight hours long? The thought alone terrifies me.

BattleTech Lore & History - Star League Civil War: A Complete 35 Year History (MechWarrior Lore)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sven van der Plank:  So the first step for any of the videos I’ve made is doing all the script writing for the entire series (e.g. Age of War, Reunification War, Golden Age, etc.). The sourcebooks aren’t always as linear as you might like them to be, so I make sure I’ve read through them to the very end before starting production. Writing the scripts usually takes about a month. Having a complete story I want to tell lets me plant any necessary foreshadowing or setup earlier on.

The Star League Civil War series, which will hopefully be the longest single project I ever do, came to around 75,000 words, or just under 300 pages. I then break that down into manageable chapters. If I only ever worked on it as a single eight-hour epic, it would never have come close to being completed. By uploading the individual chapters I can get feedback and encouragement throughout the process, then stitch it all together at the end.

The scripts do evolve over the course of production, as I discover details that only become apparent once I start mapping it out, or if I decide to change the chapter breaks or rejig how I covered certain events.

“I started the channel back in 2019 just as an excuse to play some old games and hopefully rediscover my love of the hobby through that.”

Sean: So the eight-hour video is more a compilation of your smaller videos collated into a single larger one?

Sven van der Plank: Yes and no. I had finished writing that whole series before I made even one minute of video, so I knew that was what I was working towards. At either end of that eight-hour epic is a very definite beginning and end. The chapters have a few cliffhangers along the way, but I think of it as one project. I just simply would not have been able to finish it without breaking it down into more manageable chunks. 

Sean:  That’s fair. I probably wouldn’t have been able to even get started without breaking it down like that. Plus I see that there are some differences between the first set of videos and the eight-hour one--the parts being read by other members of the BattleTech community, for example. 

Sven van der Plank: I made a few small additions/corrections when I uploaded the compilation, but those community segments were present in both versions. I think there’s only an additional one or two minutes in terms of runtime.

Sean: Ah okay. I’ve been going through the eight-hour one just because it seemed slightly more convenient for keeping my place. I’m about five hours through.

Sven Succession War Notes

Sven van der Plank: Ahh I see, well you’re just about to hit the Battle for Terra then, the largest battle in all of BattleTech.

That section was an absolute nightmare to put together, I tell you. That one chapter began life as a 60-minute section (which I already thought was too much), and ballooned up to 105 minutes by the time I was done with it. I just couldn’t stop adding more and more. 

Sean:  How long did it take you to finish the Star League Civil War series entirely?

Sven van der Plank: Difficult to say exactly but 13 months passed from when I first started writing it in late April 2022 and uploading the last chapter at the end of May 2023.

In terms of hours, I didn’t keep track, which is probably a good thing for my sanity. I can say that the Battle for Terra, which is about a quarter of the runtime, probably totals around 300 hours, but that was more difficult to complete than the rest of it put together. 

Kind of a horrifying statistic when you consider how much time goes into just a single minute of video. Thankfully, nothing else even comes close to that.

Sean: That’s just due to the lore available for the Battle for Terra, yeah?

BattleTech Lore & History - Star League Civil War: The Battle for Terra (MechWarrior Lore)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sven van der Plank: Sort of. There are two major sourcebooks for the Star League Civil War, and about half of the second volume deals with those three years of fighting on Terra. But the challenge was covering the complexities of the ground battle in video form. It’s all very well and good reading about these places, but seeing those locations on screen adds another dimension. Very early on I knew I wanted to use Google Earth to show how the conflict progressed, and putting all that together just took a lot of time. As I worked on it, I discovered how things I had written in my script based on an imagined version of things in my head, didn’t make sense once I started putting “pieces on the board,” so to speak.

Easiest example I can point to is the Battle for Berlin. I think originally I just assumed everyone was coming from just one direction, steamrolling the defenses from the west, but then I started to see how these places where engagements supposedly took place didn’t make much sense. Only later did I discover that Frankfurt and Frankfurt-an-der-Oder are two separate places in Germany, which accounted for my error. Then there were the constant “how do you even pronounce that” moments. I think the finished voicework for that section was a composite of six different recording sessions. 

Untangling it all was just a massive headache.

Sean:  And then there’s the graphs, which show force dispositions and casualty estimates. Did that take a lot of work too?

Sven van der Plank: Some, but I love compiling statistics like that so it was no real effort. I can actually show you something more major I’ve been working on which ties into what I was saying earlier…

Sven Faction Chart

Courtesy of Sven van der Plank

Sean: Oh boy. So what’s this?

Sven van der Plank: That’s all the numbers from every sourcebook I’ve read compiled into one spreadsheet. It shows the size of the house militaries over the centuries, at least between 2765-3055.

You can see where things peaked in 2786 and then rapidly declined down to the end of the Second Succession War. From there the Successor States have gradually been building things back up again. You can also see the transition into ever greater numbers of mercenaries. For example, the Lyran Commonwealth in 3039 is employing just under fifty regiments worth. That’s double what the Capellan Confederation can muster in total, three times if you look only at house troops. And that’s just in mercenaries.

Sean: And then a nice drop off in all numbers once the Clans invade. Why is the percentage value kind of high?

Sven van der Plank: Yes, I didn’t realize how bad of a beating the FedCom and Draconis Combine took until I saw how few regiments they had. 

So a single regiment at full strength is equal to 100%. So at the start of the First Succession War, everyone is sitting at that level. If I take just the Lyran Commonwealth as an example, they end the conflict with eleven more regiments, at least in theory. But the reality is that what once were fully equipped and well-rested units are now utterly obliterated, barely able to scrape together a single battalion of bits and pieces. They went from a functional strength of 12,000 (120 regiments) to less than half of that at 5788, (but spread across 131 regiments). 

“The Star League Civil War series, which will hopefully be the longest single project I ever do, came to around 75,000 words, or just under 300 pages.”

Sean: So the percentage is the number of regiments and their combat efficacy multiplied together?

Sven van der Plank: Correct.

Sean: Okay. I’m getting the sense you’re a data guy. This wouldn’t happen to be your day job, would it? 

Sven van der Plank: Nah. I studied software development for five years but it made me utterly miserable. I never want to look at another line of code for the rest of my life. These days I drive a van for a living. YouTube has been something of a creative outlet for me, as my job doesn’t really allow for that self-expression. The reception to the new First Succession War series I’ve been working on has been really positive, and it’s very satisfying to read that something you’ve made has been enjoyed by so many other people. 

Sean: Well I hope you find all the more success in your latest series of videos! I’m enjoying them mightily.

Sven van der Plank: When I was a kid, I always wanted to do something history-related. All through school I chose subjects to that end. Then in my final year, I had a meeting with my career advisor, who told me that if I got a degree in history, I’d never get a job with it and end up working in a supermarket. So instead he talked me into learning to make video games. I had no foundational knowledge in coding so was always behind in that and all it did was kill any interest I had in gaming in my free time. That ties into why I started the channel, to try and rediscover that old hobby.

But now the channel has evolved into something quite different. Quite unexpectedly, it’s become a way to rediscover that love of history and scratch that itch. It’s taken me over a decade, but I feel like I’m working towards correcting that mistake teenage me made in listening to that guy’s advice. 

Sean: That’s heartwarming. I’m also doing nothing with my degree, but writing about BattleTech is certainly better than what I went to university for.

Let’s knock out a few more questions. The music you use in your videos is all sourced from HBS’s BATTLETECH and MechWarrior 5 and other BattleTech games, but you said you haven’t played them. So does that mean you’ve just listened to the soundtracks purely to know how to insert these songs into your videos?

Sven van der Plank: I’ve definitely listened to the soundtracks. In fact, I’m excited for MW5: The Dragon’s Gambit to release just so I can listen to what new songs Sean Kolton has been working on, lol. Music for me is one of my core creative driving forces. I hear a song or piece of music and I think of the way it makes me feel and what sort of tone it has, then try to make something to fit that feeling. 

Sean: I might not have heard it yet, but have you listened to anything by Timothy Seals? He does covers of older MechWarrior songs that I think might be a great addition to your videos.

Sven van der Plank: I really love what Timothy Seals has done in revamping the MechWarrior 2 soundtracks. I mean they are absolutely fantastic. I listened to them more than a few times while reading the novels.

Sven Music Chart

That picture I just shared was for the last question. You can see how I’ve got the music laid out in my spreadsheet with all my notes. The right-hand column has that mood it evokes in me, and then I try and fit that into whatever tone I’m looking for at a particular moment. 

I would need to ask Timothy Seals about getting permission to use his music. I saw him give an interview with Renegade HPG and he said he was happy for folks to use them but I’d want to ask in person. I think if I was going to, I’d save them for the Clan Invasion era.

Sean: The way you integrate music into your videos is quite excellent. Very moving. And that’s a great idea since most of us already associate that music with the Clans.

Sven van der Plank: I think if you are listening to the compilation video for the Star League Civil War series, you’ll miss out on the finale.

Sean: Oh no!

Sven van der Plank: From the very outset, there was a specific song I wanted to use in those final minutes. Unfortunately, it was copyrighted but that didn’t stop me from using it in that first upload. I’m not unhappy with the song I changed it to, as I think it fits just as well, but that other song was really my vision.

And a couple of weeks ago, I settled on what track I’m using to conclude the next project. 

Sean: Well then, I won’t ask for spoilers. Did you ever ask Nerdy Overanalyzed to be less enthused with his reads in the Star League video? The line “woe betide anyone who makes an enemy of the Nekogami” was just freaking hilarious with that almost childlike enthusiasm.

“The reception to the new First Succession War series I’ve been working on has been really positive, and it’s very satisfying to read that something you’ve made has been enjoyed by so many other people.”

Sven van der Plank: Definitely not! We touched on those community segments earlier but never really discussed them.

One thing I wanted to try for the Star League Civil War to elevate it above my prior vids was to get some guest voices on it. My work has a very documentary-like feel to it (I present it as an in-universe piece circa 3025) and something that you always see in those kinds of things is other historians/pundits/survivors coming on to voice their opinions. I knew that if I was going to try something like that, there was no bigger moment in the timeline than the fall of the Star League. Felt like I had to pull out all the stops and go the extra mile.

I originally proposed the idea to Tex earlier that year. He was kind enough to reach out to me while I was going through a bit of a rough patch moving between homes. I brought it up then and his immediate support and willingness to take part gave me the confidence to reach out to others. I was really overjoyed with how supportive everyone in the community I spoke to was. Many of these channels I had been watching for years before I started, such as Critical Rocket and Wargamer Fritz, so it was a real thrill to get to collaborate with them on something like this.

But everyone who took part is a channel that I personally have enjoyed watching, and to go back to your question, I wouldn’t ask any of them to change what makes them them. I really like the diversity to the channels that exist in the community, it opens up so many avenues for new people to discover BattleTech in the way that suits them. 

Sean: That’s a pretty great answer. I wanted to discuss your collabs, but that nekogami line really stuck with me. I laughed out loud when I heard it! It was quite the contrast between the serious tone of the subject matter. 

BattleTech Lore & History - Star League Civil War: The Amaris Empire (MechWarrior Lore)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Sven van der Plank: I’ll give you a candid answer to that one. From about the midpoint of working on that last series, I knew the next few things I wanted to do I would be working on solo.

As much fun as it was to do, as incredibly grateful as I am to them for doing it, and as satisfied as I am with the way it came together, it also had several unforeseen problems. For starters, folks were volunteering their own time to this, wanting to contribute towards making something better for the sake of the community. But people have their own lives and projects they’re working on. I really did not feel comfortable with asking folks to stick to any sort of schedule, so the guest contributions (which were always the last thing to get added to the video) just came in at whatever pace they came in at. That meant the whole project took a lot longer than it might have otherwise taken if it had just been me.

But the second bigger issue for me was that suddenly I had to start assessing people’s work critically, which I really did not like doing. The first few recordings I received felt totally surreal to listen to. It was a thrilling experience. But then as others filtered in, I’d have to start working out which of them I was going to use. Suddenly, I had to start going through them and making observations like “mumbled that word there,” “the other guy had better flow through that paragraph,” or “mispronounced that name just then,” and it did start to feel uncomfortable at times.

I am definitely open to doing another collaboration again down the line. Likewise, I would be more than happy to lend my voice to other projects or return the favor in whatever way I can. But for the next few major events in the timeline, it’s just going to be me. 

Sorry for the very long answer to a simple question there. I was just trying to make sure I didn’t misspeak. To be clear, I am so grateful to everyone for volunteering their voices, and I do not regret a second of it. The project would not have been anywhere near as good without them.

“Music for me is one of my core creative driving forces. I hear a song or piece of music and I think of the way it makes me feel and what sort of tone it has, then try to make something to fit that feeling.”

Sean: Hah, that’s alright, it’s interesting to know the difficulty such collaborations can cause.

In the same vein as the collaborations, as your channel grows, what else would you like to add to enhance your documentary style?  For example, I follow a channel called The Operations Room, which has a similar matter-of-fact tone to historical events but adds some very simple top-down animations to illustrate those events.

Sven van der Plank:  Operations Room was one of my major influences, alongside another channel called Historia CivilisYou will see an element of that once you reach the Battle for Terra section I mentioned earlier. Sadly these days, with so much of my free time dedicated to making YouTube, I end up watching a lot less of other folks than I used to, Operations Room included.

I definitely have some ideas I want to try in the future in terms of new ways to present things in my videos. I don’t want to commit to anything now because there’s a very good chance I lack the skill to pull it off, but the Fourth Succession War Atlas sourcebooks have some ground battles that might be fun to explore in 3D. But like many things, it’s a question of time. At what point is that time better spent on continuing things in the way I’m currently doing them. 

Sean: Well, they don’t necessarily need to be 3D. Operations Room is 2D, after all. Makes creating the little sprites easier too.

Sven van der Plank:  I know, and that’s the default option which I will 100% be doing.

If you go back to my very first video in the BattleTech series which I made as a sort of introduction to the world for the benefit of all those 40K fans that were jumping ship at the time, I mentioned at the end of it the upcoming major Battle for Galtor and Operation Doppelganger. I thought at the time I would be going on to them next. Both the sourcebook and novel have maps in them that I planned to recreate and give a bird-eye view of things unfolding on the ground.

Sean: That’d be a really cool idea.

Sven van der Plank: I tend not to focus too much on the ground conflict currently. I kind of present a very high-level overview of the conflict and changing political landscape, and don’t stress too much about the particular tactics the BattleMechs are employing on the ground.

There’s so much more in the sourcebooks than I could possibly include in my videos, and a lot of that is details on the individual ground battles.

“I would be more than happy to lend my voice to other projects or return the favor in whatever way I can.”

Sean: Well, I hope you get to the point where you can maybe try your hand at something more granular. Maybe when you run out of the grand political machinations and strategies being employed across the Inner Sphere.

Sven van der Plank: Well once you reach the “modern” era of 3025 onwards, you have a lot more sourcebooks to draw from that focus on smaller-scale conflicts.

But that’s always an avenue that someone else might want to explore. It’s always good seeing new people try their hand at doing something creative within the community. That’s one of the great things about BattleTech; it’s such a vast universe that there is always going to be some aspect of it that hasn’t been explored before. I could do this for a lifetime and not run out of things to talk about.

Likewise, I wouldn’t want anyone to feel they can’t talk about something that other people already have. There are so many different angles you can approach a topic from, and your own life experiences are going to influence your own outlook and opinions on certain things. Like I was saying earlier, other channels in the community have their own distinct style and that’s a great thing for everyone

I can tell it’s almost 11 pm without looking because my speech is starting to get philosophical!

Sean: Let’s wrap this up. Any upcoming projects you’d like to plug? Or any social media sites you’d like to link to?

BattleTech Lore & History - First Succession War: Phoney War (MechWarrior Lore)
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Sven van der Plank: In September I started uploading the First Succession War series. It’s a truly apocalyptic event in the timeline. I think most folks have an idea of how bad it is, but the reality is just shocking. We’ve been having a grand old time with it so far. I’ve managed to keep to uploading one chapter a week so far, going live every Saturday. Not sure when this chat will be up on Sarna but there’ll likely be a few installments left as it’s a fourteen-part series.

I honestly don’t use social media that much. Bit of a Luddite in that respect. You can always drop me a message through YouTube and I will surely read it. My Patreon has links to a few resources that I use, such as the galaxy maps. Good point to drop a thank you to Volt from Sarna here for sending me the star chart which I use as the basis for my maps, and to those folks on the Sarna Discord who somehow are able to answer all my incredibly obscure questions. 

“That’s one of the great things about BattleTech; it’s such a vast universe that there is always going to be some aspect of it that hasn’t been explored before.”

Sean: Thanks for the shoutouts! Anything else you’d like to add?

Sven van der Plank: Only that I’m very grateful that you invited me to take part in this. Sarna as a website was instrumental in my discovery of the franchise, not to mention a great resource for working on my own videos, so it’s nice to have some extra connection to it. BattleTech has been going through a real renaissance these past few years, so I’m excited to see where it goes next.

And thank you to anyone else reading this who has offered me encouragement and support over the years. It’s a wonderful community I’m glad to be a part of.

Sean: And we’re glad to have you! Looking forward to the next Succession Wars video.

Sven van der Plank: Thanks, Sean.

Thanks for sitting down to talk, Sven, and stay tuned to his YouTube channel for more great dives into BattleTech history.

And as always, MechWarriors: Stay Syrupy.

stay syrupy

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6 thoughts on “Community Outreach – Exploring BattleTech Lore And History With Sven Van Der Plank

  1. Sven van der Plank

    Thank you once again Sean for inviting me to take part in Sarna’s community outreach. It was nice getting to chat about all this.

    1. Alus

      dude, your work is awesome!!! I was gobsmacked when I looked at the spread sheets on the article. You think you’d liike to share those? Im in to data anlysis and have been playing with the idea of making something like that on my head for a while


  2. Craig

    Loving the long-form stuff. Tex Talks Battletech is more on the comedy angle but it’s good too.

    I probably watched 5 “Grimdark Narrator” videos before I even realized it was a bot speaking!!!

    Thank you for your hard work, it shows. Glad to see the fans really take over Battletech before Cancel Culture weirdos ruin everything. Catalyst Games can shove it. The fans own this thing and you are showing the way for the future of BT.

  3. Sausage Von Rohrs

    I’m with pork, curse those Catalyst folks and their incredibly successful revival of our shared hobby!!!! How dare they!!!!

  4. Sausage Von Rohrs

    Sven, you are an absolute legend, many thanks for all your hard work, I’m slowly making my way through all your fantastic content!


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